NOAA Coastal Storms Program improves community resiliency in the Great Lakes

Orlando post 2015-06-18 combined

Photo credits: Top & Bottom – ODNR Coastal Management; Center – Ohio Sea Grant

In the fall of 2012, a large hurricane that began in the Caribbean Sea made landfall on the east coast of the U.S., causing ripples across the Northeast and Midwest for two days. What came to be called Superstorm Sandy in the Midwest generated an estimated $65 billion in damages in the U.S. alone and sent a shock wave through many working waterfront communities.

Marinas in the Great Lakes typically see 1-to-3 foot waves in their harbors. Superstorm Sandy brought towering waves of up to 20 feet and winds of up to 60 miles per hour. Many coastal communities across the Great Lakes were not prepared for this extreme weather and some took months to recover from the damages.

The experiences of Superstorm Sandy combined with projections of more frequent and severe storms in the future led Ohio Sea Grant to pursue and obtain a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Storms Grant in the fall of 2014. The grant project is titled Development of a Coastal Storms Preparation, Adaptation, and Response Tool for Great Lakes Marinas. This project aims to understand the needs, drivers and barriers to preparing for extreme weather hazards and to develop tools that will help marina owners now and in the future. The project is jointly led by Sarah Orlando and Joe Lucente of Ohio Sea Grant Extension with Dr. Eric Toman of the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

A total of ten small grant projects have been funded to make Great Lakes coastal communities safer and more resilient. Learn more about the projects including work on dangerous currents, stormwater impacts, shoreline mapping and hazard mitigation at the NOAA Great Lakes Coastal Storms Program Page.

(Submitted by Sarah Orlando, Program Manager, Ohio Clean Marinas Program, Ohio Sea Grant)